The day after I appeared on Global TV for Treats for Toys, I got an email asking if I would come on to talk about Gingerbread Houses. I said “Sure!”. It was the middle of November…what could go wrong?
You see, every year Evan and I decorate gingerbread houses. So I thought…yeah I’ll talk about decorating gingerbread houses. Until….I found out they were talking about making a homemade gingerbread house. Wha wha whaaaaaaaa. I’ve never actually done that. Ever. I love to bake but my baking has never needed to be structurally stable or to actually fit together and stand up. Gah!
Well, I decided to figure out the best gingerbread house ideas for people like me who had never made one before. Starting with a 2 story mansion will put you on the fast track to a Christmas meltdown. Instead of that, I decided to start with a cute little A-Frame gingerbread house that reminds me quite a bit of a mountain chalet. Instead of four walls and a roof, they only have a front, a back and two roof pieces. I used this template from Tikkido and this recipe for gingerbread from Simple Recipes. Both worked perfectly and Evan gave the taste of the gingerbread two thumbs up. I do think I made my gingerbread a bit too thin but it worked well regardless. I got a lot of pointers from this great tips post by Tikkido as well.
From everything I’ve learned, here are the most important take aways:
- Don’t be in a hurry. Gingerbread houses are not built in one day.
- Simple is better. You don’t have to build the Taj Mahal.
- Roll your dough out on your parchment paper and lift away the excess. Don’t try to move the dough pieces to your pan. They will go all wonky.
- Place your template over the baked pieces and trim any excess IMMEDIATELY after you remove the cookies from the oven.
- Buying store bought royal icing saves a ton of time and works great.
- Count twice to make sure you baked enough pieces. I thought I had enough for 3 houses but I only had enough for 3 houses minus one piece.
I must admit that decorating the houses was still my favorite part. I found using spice jars made it easy to hold the pieces together while they dried. If you don’t have a piping bag for your royal icing, just dump it into a thick Ziplock bag and cut a small hole in the corner.
Overall, I think they turned out pretty well. If you try and your house insists on falling apart, pull out the glue gun and glue it back together. Just remember to tell people not to eat it. Or, better yet, get a plastic dinosaur and say that your house got attacked.
Here’s the link to my TV segment!
Happy House Construction!